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Romancing the Small Town

sun-prairie-424953_1920Currently, books that have characters living in small towns are very popular. I’m attracted to stories that take place at the beach, in the country-side and in out-of-the-way places. One day I had to ask myself why do those settings appeal to me?

Upon reflection, there is a degree of serenity and security that small towns seem to possess.  In some novels, folks leave their doors unlocked. Some families have lived in the same village for generations.  And sometimes, these settings are perfect locations for men and women wanting to start over, wanting to transform themselves, wanting to escape their shadowy pasts.

A common thread is a central meeting place, where the locals can gather for business or conversation. Often this is a coffee shop, bar, diner/restaurant, or other place of business. Intriguing secondary characters can emerge in these locations.

When characters are living in a high-rise condo, the opportunities to mingle are fewer. The lobby? The elevator? The hallway?

In small towns the characters have interwoven back stories.  People know a lot about each other. Or so they think. The reader is intrigued because they want to understand these connections.

What is your opinion? Are you reading a series that is focused on the same small town or setting? Does the small town atmosphere appeal to you?





  1. I love small towns – I do read books that are focused on small towns/villages but I don’t mind a book set in a big city either. Saying that, my heart lives in a small town where no one locks there doors and you can go next door to borrow a cup of sugar to bake for the up coming bake sale. A story in the making…

    1. Yeah, it’s hard to believe that some homes are under security cameras, and others – the doors are wide open. We certainly do live in a complex world. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. I like small towns on paper. That is to say I like the Norman Rockwellian image that authors draw for small towns and I think they make great back drops for stories.
    I’m a big city girl at heart though and small towns in reality give me claustrophobia.
    It sounds like you’re really enjoying the small town theme and I think that’s awesome.
    Happy writing,
    I’m glad you’ve found a home

    1. I hear you about the big city. Recently we spent the weekend in Seattle. The bushman was ready to go home and I was energized beyond description. I actually think it was all of the access to restaurants that had me excited. I’m thinking that maybe this ‘small town’ idea might be where I want to spend some time.

  3. I’m a sucker for small town settings, too. I think they become a character onto themselves. There’s a more intimate feel, everyone knows everyone else, and it always seem to add such an interesting dynamic to the story.

    I just finished reading the second book in Marta Perry’s Watcher in the Dark series (Search the Dark). It’s set in a small town Amish community. I quite enjoyed it.

    1. I agree with you. And some authors are fabulous when describing their setting. I love the books that have women living in fabulous beach houses. My kind of fantasy I guess.

  4. I’ve been writing a series called the Last War, and although this is sci fi/fantasy, and the countries are all new, the towns are invariably small. I didn’t realize that until I read your blog. But it just works, each book explores a different area, different people, but the small town theme pulls it together.

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed this small town theme in a lot of books lately. I believe that readers enjoy the intimacy and opportunity to learn more about their characters in a more intimate setting. I haven’t had the opportunity to read your work yet – but am looking forward to it when I can take a breather. Many thanks for stopping by.

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